i write for dobberbaseball.com, dobberhockey.com, hockeyanalysis.com and this blog. i normally have a forum for all of my other articles by putting them on another of my blogs but i don't have somewhere to post my baseball articles other than the site that i write them for. i'm putting this here and if you're not interested in baseball then maybe you'll just want to move on to another post.
Welcome once again to An Expert’s Audit – baseball edition. In this article we take a look at the fantasy team of a reader to see if there are areas we can improve so that we’re moving down a winning road. If you’re interested in getting your baseball team audited you can begin the procedure by emailing your league and team particulars to email@example.com
Let me introduce you to Johnny Gregurich or Johnny G as he’s known to me. He’s a San Jose lad, Giants fan and has been a frequent emailer to me about all things hockey and baseball more recently. He plays in a 8 team NL only roto league with a bunch of buddies and relatives and as always he wants to school them all. The league settings are a standard 5x5: R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, K, ERA, and WHIP.
One thing everyone should know about me right up front, I’m slow to move at the beginning of the season. There won’t be a trade discussions section of this article and I was pretty up-front with Johnny about this because I don’t want to trade an asset when we don’t know what it is that the team needs. Typically it’s a month into a season before I start suggesting moves, that way we have a picture about team needs. Sometimes it’s obvious what a team needs … but this isn’t one of those times.
Let’s take a look at Boys Named Sue as they were drafted. That team name has something to do with Johnny’s cat that disappeared and then showed up at home some days later. I don’t know man, it’s your team.
C Bengie Molina SF – I wait on catchers anyway, unless we’re talking about a guy who’s eligible at C but getting AB’s everyday somewhere else. I always seem to end up with lower end C’s and I’m not bothered by that since I can supplement somewhere else and get as many AB’s as guys selecting Russell Martin or someone.
1b Joey Votto CIN – whenever I say his name in my head I hear it in Otto the bus driver’s voice. “His name is Joey Vot-to, he likes to get blot-to. Whoaaaaaa.” Actually I love this Canadian kid in any league format.
2b Brandon Phillips CIN – he’s started off really slowly but he’ll definitely bounce back for some huge numbers this season. This guy needs to be locked into your lineup and there are few guys that I’d be trading him for simply because he’ll provide elite stats at a very shallow position.
3b David Wright NYM – I LOVE your infield. Your team has other issues but I LOVE your infield. Obviously Wright is a monster, nuff said.
SS Rafael Furcal LAD – I like SB’s at SS and people really underestimate what Raffy can do for a fantasy squad. Outside of the big 3 in the NL there are few who can contribute as well as Furcal in runs and SB’s.
OF Jay Bruce CIN – everybody is expecting big stats out of him this season, particularly playing in that launchpad in Cinncy. They’ll get exactly what they’re wanting from him too.
OF Lastings Milledge WAS – I thought his demotion was weak. If he were given a less prominent spot in the order then maybe he’d still be in the bigs or maybe he’d be producing like some other young sticks with less pressure on them. This was the first major setback for your team.
OF Cameron Maybin FLA – I’m still expecting him to be NL RoY by season’s end. He’ll find a groove and he’ll produce. Even an 8 team NL league is pretty scarce for OF on the wire so definitely keep a guy around who could be elite there.
Util James Loney LAD – he’s pretty valuable actually. He provides doubles and RBI that are very helpful. I suspect that 100 RBI will happen for him this year and I can see 20 dingers too. If he had any speed he could be Derek Lee – lite.
BN Mike Cameron MIL – he’s coming off two seasons in a row of abysmal batting average and I don’t think that his present status in that category is not likely to hold up. I think that if you can get something for him in a trade then I’d be pulling the trigger.
BN Kevin Kouzmanoff SD – he’s a good young 3b backup that’s well worth rostering as a backup.
BN Freddie Sanchez PIT – your 2b backup and I’m just not a fan. It used to be that he had really nice value for AVG but I think those days are long past now.
BN Ryan Church NYM – he’s actually got some very nice skills, he produces and he was on pace for about 25 HR and 100 RBI before getting derailed by injury. This year he’s already fended off Sheffield for AB’s and the playing time issue is wide open for him.
SP Cole Hamels PHI – I’m not worried. Much. Well ok, maybe a little but not enough to stop me from running him out there everytime I can.
SP Matt Cain SF - I really like the Giants starting pitching actually. They have no offense but I really like their pitching. Cain has been awful for wins and that may not change this year but he’ll still provide 200 IP, era around 3.50 and he may eventually get to 200 K. I’ll take that, even if it’s only 10 wins.
RP Johnathan Broxton LAD – he’s elite in the NL for saves. In a league like this there are fewer better options to roster.
RP Francisco Cordero CIN – upper 2nd tier closer who won’t be losing his job (most likely) and should easily provide 30 saves for your team.
P Ted Lilly CHC – in 3 seasons in Toronto he never broke 200 IP, then he signs with the Cubs and he’s now headed for his 3rd season in a row with 200 IP and career best K’s. As a Jays fan, that blows but I’m betting Cubs fans are relatively pleased.
P Johnny Cueto CIN – you have a lot of Reds on this team, that doesn’t bode well actually. This kid has absolute flashes of brilliance mixed in with … less than brilliant flashes. I think that he’ll easily build on last year’s stats and I expect a more than serviceable pitcher out of him for a fairly long career. This year? I could see wins in the low teens, 200 IP, and 175 K’s.
P Hiroki Kuroda LAD – he’s one guy that I have been expecting a huge breakout for this season, obviously his oblique strain this month has put a damper on my high hopes for him. He’ll be at least another couple weeks but if healthy I think he can take the next step and do this year what someone like Edinson Volquez did last year.
BN Todd Wellemeyer STL – the Cards offense is just so good that they’ll provide more wins for any SP that can go 6 innings, Wellemeyer can do that. He’s a solid SP that can be a no-name contributor to any fantasy staff.
Your league doesn’t track games started for any position players, you only have to meet your 1250 IP requirements over the course of the season. With 5 SP’s and 2 RP’s you should easily get your 1250 IP this season so you’re right to load up your bench with sticks that can fill holes on days your starters are off. You’ll need to be sure that you have a backup for every starter if you can.
Potential FA moves
Yunel Escobar – there’s no way he should be on a waiver wire in a NL only league. I figure he’s got a shot at being the 4th best SS in the NL if he can produce better than Tulo, Hardy, Theriot, Furcal and Drew. He’s only hitting .250 as I write this but I very much doubt that he’ll finish under .300 this season. A little bit of power is also on the horizon and he’ll always have plenty of glove to help his team.
Skip Schumaker – I like multi-eligible players and his 2b eligibility makes him a viable consideration for your team. He’ll provide decent stats and the avg will be over .300 which might be all you want from a backup 2b.
Elijah Dukes – he jumped into full time AB’s once Milledge was sent down. He’s always had upside, it’s been the attitude that has been the question. He’s a talent that could explode for some great stats or he could just plain explode.
Bronson Arroyo – the way people are down on him every year they show me they don’t realize that he was top 25 for K’s in the NL last season, got 200 IP and 15 wins for a very bad Reds team last year. If he can keep the ratios at all respectable then I say he’s got a shot at 20 wins. Seriously.
Jordan Zimmerman – I was all over you telling you to go get this kid and with how he’s started the season the window for getting him is closing rapidly. He’ll get K’s and he’s got a good shot at some wins if he can get some run support. I’ve got to think he should be on some squad in every NL only league out there.
Ian Stewart – he’s eligible at 2b and 3b so he’d be a fine choice as a backup for both your starters. He’d also do as good or a better job than who you drafted.
Chris Duncan – it’s helpful that he’s eligible at 1b and he’s fairly important to the Cards offense as some protection. He’s had himself a nice start to the season and he’s a good candidate for a bench slot.
Aaron Rowand – there’s still potential here for 20 dingers and nearly 100 RBI. The Giants offense isn’t exactly … well it’s not good, so there’s some opportunity for guys like Rowand to step up and contribute more than guys in other situations.
After a month of play your team looks to need a bit more power and you could use some more K’s. I have no doubt that your power options are going to improve when your best players start playing like your best players. David Wright only has 1 dinger on the year but that drought won’t continue for long. Jay Bruce and Mike Cameron lead your team in power cats and that won’t continue for long either but both those guys will be valuable to your team for some secondary power. Joey Votto and Elijah Dukes are going to be really important to you. If Dukes keeps his head on straight and stays healthy then I can see 30/100 out of him and I have little doubt that Votto is going to get there any way you look at it.
So, your power should be fine. I’m more worried about your K’s though. Your slow start in that category is centered around the fact that Cole Hamels has been dinged up for too much of the first month. I think the short term solution to your dilemma still sits on your waiver wire, it’s Jordan Zimmerman. I can’t believe he isn’t on a team yet. Guys must be scared of rostering any Nats pitcher knowing that he’ll be less likely to get wins pitching for an offense that scores less. Let me point out though that guys like Dukes, Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman aren’t exactly no-talent hacks who can’t hit the baseball. The Nats may not win a ton of games or get anywhere near the playoffs anytime soon but they’ll come close to .500 and a talented pitcher has a shot at being .500 himself if he’s special. I think Jordan Zimmerman can be special, and you need the K’s anyway. The question for me is who the drop should be and I think it comes down to either Cameron Maybin or Todd Wellemeyer. I still believe in Maybin and I’d resist turfing him just yet so … I guess that tells you my opinion.
Well, the fun’s just beginning for you. You’re solidly positioned for a run and I think you’re a couple key moves away from winning. Right now, I’d watch your power options and your K’s and I wouldn’t do anything drastic (like trading Phillips or something). You need to be a bit patient and when your team’s needs dictate then you should shop harder for what you need.